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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Roderick Dewayne Lowe. He gets the award for the following.

Roderick Dewayne Lowe tried to outrun an Alexandria police officer Wednesday but wound up in handcuffs because his pants fell down around his knees, according to the police report.

The foot chase followed a high-speed car chase in the city, the report stated.

Officer Keith Mouliere said he was on routine patrol about 1 a.m. Wednesday when he passed a car headed in the opposite direction on Lee Street at a speed 10 miles per hour over the posted limit with music playing too loud.

Mouliere said, after he reversed direction and turned his blue lights on, the car speeded up, reaching 80 miles per hour.
The vehicle turned from Duhon Lane to Willow Glen Street, but the driver was unable to negotiate the corner and wound up hitting a driveway post, he said.

Mouliere said the suspect exited his car and ran in front of the cruiser. Mouliere said he was unable to avoid hitting Lowe. When he went to check on the suspect, Mouliere said the man got up and ran in the direction from which he came, stopping long enough to pick up a brown leather pouch.

But the man didn't get far because " ... he fell as his trousers fell down around his knees ...," according to the report.
LOL, Mr. Lowe should remember to wear a belt or suspenders next time. Roderick Dewayne Lowe is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Hat tip- Hooah Wife
Linked to- Amboy Times, Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Cao, Church and State, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Morewhat, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, Random Yak, Right Wing Nation, Samantha Burns, Third World County, Webloggin, Woman Honor Thyself, The World According to Carl, Yankee Sailor,

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Five years

From the Sun-Sentinel-

WEST PALM BEACH -- A federal judge on Friday sentenced former Palm Beach County Commissioner Tony Masilotti to five years in federal prison for using his public office to orchestrate secret land deals -- but allowed Masilotti to remain free for 45 days until he has to surrender to authorities.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Ryskamp allowed Masilotti to delay his sentence in order to care for his sick 11-year-old daughter, Julie, whom defense lawyers said is entering a residential treatment program in Illinois. They did not specify the illness.

The judge also said he'd recommend Masilotti be placed in an alcohol treatment program in prison, which would reduce his sentence one year.

The five-year sentence was the maximum under a plea deal between Masilotti and federal prosecutors. He also has paid nearly $10 million in fines and forfeited property.


Masilotti apologized for his actions in brief comments to the judge, in a voice so low it could barely be heard from a few yards away.

"My life is in your hands," he told the judge, later adding: "I just ask for your mercy in your sentencing."

A federal investigation into Masilotti unveiled a six-year conspiracy in which the veteran politician took free plane trips to the Bahamas from a developer friend, accepted a political payoff to satisfy a gambling debt, and persistently used his power to advance land deals that enriched him and his family. He gleaned nearly $10 million from illicit land deals, according to the investigation.
Knucklehead Masilotti got off lightly. He deserves a lot more time in jail. Five years for ten million? Doesn't that seem warped also to you also?

Linked to- Bright & Early, The World According to Carl,

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is the Miami Herald. They get the award for the following.

A Miami appeals court Wednesday ordered a juvenile court judge to open to the public all hearings in a child-custody dispute between a Cuban national and a Coral Gables Cuban exile family that wants to raise a 4-year-old migrant girl.

In a three-page ruling, a three-judge panel of the Third District Court of Appeal in Miami overturned Circuit Judge Jeri B. Cohen's April 20, 2006, order that all hearings in the case be closed. The Miami Herald Media Co. appealed Cohen's order in March.

The appeals court did not rule on the part of Cohen's order that bans all courtroom participants from speaking about the case.

''Under Florida law, the trial court may close any dependency hearing to the public upon determining that the public interest or the welfare of the child is best served by doing so,'' the appeals court wrote. ``However, such a determination must be supported by competent substantial evidence.

''The evidence presented to the trial court fails to satisfy this requirement,'' the court wrote.

The little girl's mother immigrated legally to the United States in 2004, and, after living for a short while in Houston, moved with her two children to Miami. Shortly after, the mother became despondent and attempted to kill herself by slashing her wrists. The girl and her now-12-year-old brother were sheltered by the Department of Children & Families.

The brother, who has a different father than the girl, went to live with the Cuban-American family in Coral Gables with the consent of his dad. The girl's father in Cuba has pressed for custody, arguing he is a fit parent and should be given an opportunity to raise the girl. DCF workers have alleged he is not fit to raise her.

The father is currently in Miami while he and his lawyers prepare their case.

The Miami Herald has not named the children or their mother in order to protect the children's privacy.
Yes the Miami Herald hasn't named the child to date. Will that policy continue after their victory?

What does opening the hearings to the public accomplish? Alex at SOTP writes-

But what gall shrouding themselves with statements such as "to protect the children's privacy" or that "the public will get to see how justice is being done in this case". This is not a noble pursuit of the truth, this is just a newspaper hungry for controversy meddling in an extremely sensitive case. They don't care about the child, her father and the families involved. There's no public good to be served by reporting on the case as is ongoing, none; and the Herald honchos who ordered this sensationality hunt would be ashamed of themselves if they had anything reminiscent of a conscience.
There is no public good accomplished by the Herald by opening this case to the public. What will happen is the child and the families will be put in the public spotlight. Sooner or later, they will get named. How noble of the Herald to make that possible. NOT! Does the Herald feel the need to do this for every child hearing in the courts? Why this one case? To stir the public up, like Alex said? I think so, and some how the warped idiots at this newspaper think that will increase circulation.

Another sick episode of the Florida MSM sticking their noses in where they don't belong. Click here and here for other examples. This time will no justifiable reason but for possible financial gain, and that makes The Miami Herald is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Note- I blogged about this custody case previously in this post.

Linked to- Amboy Times, Big Dog, Blue Star, Bright & Early, Cao, High Desert Wanderer, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Mad Pigeon, Outside the Beltway, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, Right Wing Nation, Samantha Burns, StikNstein, Webloggin, The World According to Carl,

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Spare the rod, Broil the child

Some news from South Korea. Since the article is in Korean, we'll have to rely on Robert Koehler's translation.

Angry at his noisy students, a music teacher in Dongducheon last week shut off the classroom air conditioning and turned on an electric heater.

Keep in mind, it was like 30 degrees Celsius outside, and being a music room, there were curtains on all the walls to dampen the sound, meaning there was very little air circulation.

In addition to the sauna treatment, each of the male students got a wack to the palms of the hands, while the girls had to sit on their knees on top of their desks.

This continued for about 15 minutes.

After the parents complained, the school demanded a written explanation from the teacher and an apology, which they got. The school also plans to punish the teacher appropriately.
That classroom must have become like an oven after fifteen minutes. Did school officials need to use Easy Off afterwards? Cue the sarcastic laughter.

Linked to- Jo, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove,

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Where's the Dramamine? Part Sixteen

Boy am I am having fun following the media coverage of the US Women's Open.

Yesterday we had a reporter contradicting himself in the same article about Se Ri Pak. Today's example of journalistic inconsistency comes from two South Florida newspaper reporters. First we have Alan Tays version from the Palm Beach Post-

Mexico's Ochoa would like to be in that position. She knows one of the first steps is to win her first major. Her best chance came at the 2005 Open at Cherry Hills, where she was three under par for her final round before hitting her 18th-hole tee shot into the water, making a quadruple-bogey and finishing four shots behind winner Birdie Kim.

Now read what Jeff Shain wrote at the Miami Herald-

Even more heart wrenching, perhaps, was the Open two years ago at Cherry Hills.

Playing an hour in front of the final groups, Ochoa's back-nine charge left her in position to take a share of the lead into the clubhouse with a par at No. 18.

Instead, she snap-hooked her 3-wood into a lake. The ensuing triple bogey dropped her to sixth behind surprise winner Birdie Kim.
Triple bogey, Quadruple bogey, were these two sports writers in the same room but hearing different things? Ochoa made a quadruple bogey eight by the way.

The Golf MSM- If we can't get the facts right in the same article, why do you think we can do it in the same state?

On a side note- Alan Tays is looking at two possible knucklehead awards when I have my July 4th marathon. For the above article, and for one he wrote yesterday. Two articles, four very dumb careless mistakes between them. Why did the Palm Beach Post send this clueless idiot to cover the US Women's Open when they have Craig Dolch as their golf writer is beyond me. Maybe because of his son Eric. That I'd understand.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Bullwinkle, Cao,

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Two for the price of one

From the Sun-Sentinel-

For the first time in Florida, a judge has ruled that two or more owners of the same condo unit can each serve on a condo board, despite an association rule that says otherwise.

But Broward County Court Judge Steven Shutter said the matter is so significant that the 4th District Court of Appeal should address the issue stemming from a dispute at the 392-unit Lakewood Village in Coral Springs.

"Because this has the potential to be a ruling that effects hundreds of thousands of people, it has got to be resolved by the 4th District," he said Wednesday. He said this is only the second time in 26 years on the bench that he has asked a higher court for such a review.

The ruling, if upheld, effectively limits the power of boards to control elections.

Shutter said he and attorneys on both sides of the case conducted extensive research and couldn't find any Florida court decisions on the issue. The state Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums & Mobile Homes has given three nonbinding advisory opinions. All agree the only impediment to becoming a condo director is having been convicted of a felony without civil rights restored.

The case involves Lauren and Philip Beracha, who in January announced their intention to run for one-year terms on the three-member board. They made the announcement more than 40 days before the election to comply with state law.

On Feb. 13, without a vote of owners, the board amended the bylaws to prohibit two owners of the same unit from serving at the same time. It also specified that if co-owners win an election, the person with the lower number of votes must step down.

In a separate decision, before the March 21 election, the directors increased the number of board members to five.

The Berachas campaigned for votes anyway.
I can't believe there is no legal precedent for this. Then I should remember, this is Florida. Most homeowners, and I'm guilty of it too, pay little attention to the politics of the homeowners' associations where they live. If this ruling is allowed to stand, there will be plenty of ramifications. What's to stop one home from having 3,4, 5 or more owners and then they all running for election to a homeowners association or condo board?

Welcome to Legal insanity Florida style.

Linked to- Amboy Times, StikNstein, Webloggin,

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Burglar alarm

More news about April and Michael Moylan who I blogged about two days ago.

Authorities say the St. Lucie County man who walked into an emergency room Tuesday morning with a bullet in his head could face the same charge as his wife in connection with the bizarre incident: unlawful firearm possession by a convicted felon.

Hospital officials said Michael Eugene Moylan, 45, was "stable and resting comfortably" in a West Palm Beach trauma center Wednesday, the day after he strode into the emergency room in Port St. Lucie complaining to doctors about head pain.

Doctors and a police officer on duty at the hospital told Moylan he had been shot in the head, deputies said.

After changing their story several times, the Moylans told investigators that the alarm went off at their posh St. Lucie County home around 4:15 a.m. That startled his wife, April, who sleeps with a loaded .38 revolver under her pillow even though both she and her husband are convicted felons, St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said.

The home's alarm prompted April Moylan, 39, to go for the gun and pull the trigger, shooting her husband behind his right ear, she told deputies.

"That's the final version they both came up with last night," Mascara said Wednesday.
The story sounded fishy to start with, but this is Florida where screwball stuff happens almost daily. A loaded revolver under your pillow, who did April think she is? James Bond?

Linked to Amboy Times, Bright & Early, Right Wing Nation,

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The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winners are Florida's Department of Children and Families aka DCF, The Sarasota Family YMCA plus Safe Children Coalition. They get the award for the following.

A missing Florida girl was found in Wisconsin two weeks ago is home, safe and sound. Her ordeal is giving way to a shakeup at the state's Department of Children and Families. Late Tuesday, internal investigators released a full account of what went wrong, and why.

The fallout continues at the Florida Department of Children and Families. As promised, Secretary Bob Butterworth is unveiling a scathing report in the Courtney Clark case.

In January, the two-year old toddler disappeared from her foster home in Lake County. Amazingly, four months passed before law enforcement got wind of it. About two weeks ago, she turned up in Wisconsin.

Turns out her mother had kidnapped her and taken her to a home in Wisconsin. Authorities also found a body buried in the backyard, and an 11-year old boy who had been tortured at the same location.

The report finds that a DCF contractor, the Sarasota Family YMCA, is responsible for not following protocol. In the words of Butterworth, people failed, and the system did, too

“There is not that sense of urgency. When a child goes missing, that must be reported immediately. Go through this file – it’s there,” Butterworth said. “The case worker for the YMCA knew the child was missing, and did not contact local law enforcement for some time. Inexcusable.”

Butterworth is launching a handful of new positions at DCF to better coordinate communication between the department, law enforcement and contractors. He also wants a top-to-bottom review of the Sarasota YMCA.
Sad to say it, but I feel certain in saying this won't be the last DCF screwup. They've won past Knucklehead awards from me, click here, here, and here, besides who can forget the Rilya Wilson case? This is one screwed up agency that when it isn't @#%^! itself, contracts out to others who do.

The Palm Beach Post editorialized this morning-

Two-year-old Courtney Clark was kidnapped last fall from her Tampa foster home. Private child-welfare caseworkers did not report it for four months. When law-enforcement officers finally found the toddler - on June 14 - with her birth mother in Wisconsin, they also found an 11-year-old who had been scalded, repeatedly abused and was covered in blood, and the body of his mother, who had been killed Memorial Day weekend and buried in the back yard.

As horrifying as the daily updated details about the home in Portage, Wis., is the repeated disregard that the Florida Department of Children and Families and one of its private foster-care agencies showed for the 2-year-old and her younger sibling. Their mother faces charges of murder and child abuse.

The toddler had been placed in four foster homes in less than two months, finally with a couple (chosen by the birth mother) who had "some indicators" that they had sexually abused and molested a child. Reports that were required to be completed in 24 hours took months. The Sarasota Family YMCA and Safe Children Coalition not only violated court orders; DCF violated its own child-safety rules.

DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth called the "human failures throughout this system" "unconscionable" and "totally, totally inexcusable." While denying that the Tampa case is "an indictment on the entire system," he has acted quickly to assign Child Location Specialists throughout the state, to improve training, to propose legislation and to review contracts with private agencies. Supposedly, the state's computer tracking system will make sure that caseworkers meet deadlines to check on children. With Courtney Clark, "nobody," Mr. Butterworth fumed this week, "seemed to have a sense of urgency."
Nobody did have a sense of urgency, and that's why I make Florida's Department of Children and Families aka DCF, The Sarasota Family YMCA plus Safe Children Coalition today's Knuckleheads of the Day.

Note- The Post editorial puts the words an indictment on the entire system in quotation marks. I've done a yahoo news search looking for that quote and have found none in an article involving this DCF story. I may come back to this story to give the Post a Knucklehead award for making up quotes.

Linked to- Amboy Times, Big Dog, Bright & Early, Cao, High Desert Wanderer, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, Right Voices, Samantha Burns, StikNstein, Third World County, Webloggin, Yankee Sailor,

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Here's the scoop

Phil Rosenthal at the Chicago Tribune lists his favorite media films of all time.

They include-

1941's Citizen Kane- The Orson Welles Classic.
2003's Shattered Glass- With one small deviation, the absolutely true story of the famous journalistic fraud Stephen Glass. As a subscriber of The New Republic I find the movie fascinating, but it is a riveting story and one of this decade's best kept cinema secrets.
1981's Absence of Malice- Set in Miami. A vehicle for Paul Newman and Sally Field, but Bob Balaban and Wilford Brimley steal the show. I used to own the movie poster for 'Malice' displayed in this post.
1952's Deadline USA. An underrated Humphrey Bogart movie I always liked.
The Year of Living Dangerously- Set in Indonesia but filmed in the country of my wife's birth, The Philippines.

These are excellent choices as are most of the others listed by Rosenthal.

Two movies not mentioned by Phil or Betsy, but I'll add is Fritz Lang's 1956 film Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. A journalist frames himself for murder to prove the untrustworthiness of circumstantial evidence. This film noir is very underrated. A Dangerous Life is good if flawed retelling of a journalist working in the Philippines at the time of the downfall of the Marcos regime.

Feel free to link with your favorite media movies. I'll link back if you do.

Hat tip- Betsy
Linked to-
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Missing Capsule

Some news from Singapore. Dear wife and I visited that city state in 1998. Trust me when I say, we aren't responsible. LOL.

Linked to- Jo, Right Voices, Samantha Burns,

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A time capsule buried in Singapore's main sports stadium in 1970 and containing coins, newspapers and sports memorabilia has gone missing, the Today newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing local officials.

The Singapore Sports Council has hired contractors to scour the stadium, including the VIP car park, for the missing metal capsule, which is about the size of a suitcase and was buried under the National Stadium's foundations, Today said.

Singapore's National Stadium -- the venue for sporting events as well as the annual national day parade -- is due to be torn down later this year to make way for a new sports complex. "The Singapore Sports Council is now in the process of locating the capsule," Patrick Lee, a Singapore Sports Council official was quoted as saying in Today.


Alex is out, Craig is in

From the Palm Beach Post-

A year ago at this time goaltender Alex Auld was the heir apparent to Roberto Luongo. Now he's an ex-Panther.

On Monday Auld was left off coach Jacques Martin's list of six players who will receive qualifying offers from the Panthers for the upcoming season.

The team instead signed backup goalie Craig Anderson to a two-year contract believed to be worth slightly more than $1 million.


The choice of Anderson over Auld was partly about saving money under the salary cap - savings that amount to about $1 million per season - but also Martin's conviction that Anderson, who played in 29 games for Chicago two years ago and five for Florida last year, can be a viable No. 2 goalie.


Auld played well early last season but appeared to lose his confidence and then sustained a knee injury. He finished with a 7-13-5 record and a 3.35 goals-against average.
Releasing Auld is further proof of how disastrous the Roberto Luongo deal was for the Panthers. Bertuzzi and Auld are both gone now.

As to Auld's play last year, it stunk. His Goals against average was horrible, as was his record in goal. Part of the latter can be attributed to the Panthers lack of punch, but Auld's play was never very good in most games.

Unless someone emerges from the Panther farm system, the team's goaltending will be in the hands of Tomas Vokoun and Craig Anderson for the 2007-08 season. That should be good news.

Linked to- Bright & Early, The World According to Carl,

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Where's the Dramamine? Part Fifteen

The US Women's Golf Open starts tomorrow. As can be expected, the tournament is getting a great deal of press.

For example Luke Decock at the Raleigh News & Observer writing-

Se Ri Pak wasn't the first, but she might as well have been alone when she joined the LPGA Tour full time in 1998. There were only two other South Korean players on the tour; and Pak, 21, fought her culture shock alone.
Later in the same article Mr. Decock writes-

When a 20-year-old Pak won the Women's Open in 1998 after an unprecedented 20-hole playoff, it was front-page news in Korea. People who had never watched golf before stayed up through the night to watch Pak's marathon battle with Duke golfer Jenny Chuasiriporn.
The Korean Golf Queen regressed one year of age in the same newspaper article. Isn't it amazing the MSM can do such a thing? Cue the sarcastic laughter.

Se Ri's correct age is 20. Her birthday is September 28, 1977.

I could also add that the 20-hole playoff at the 1998 US Open Open wasn't unprecedented. The 1994 US Men's Open also went 20 holes. A US Open in the 1930's went, 72 holes. I'll give Mr. Decock the benefit of the doubt in that meant LPGA history.

TFM watchdog of the Golf MSM. It's a lonely job, but I'll do it.

Linked to- Big Dog, Bullwinkle, Right Voices,

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Green card limbo

From the Orlando Sentinel-

But Patel, who is 44 and divorced, is not welcome to stay in the United States permanently. Neither are her teenagers.

She is among thousands stuck in immigration limbo.

Technically known as "nonimmigrants," many are professionals on temporary visas. Some are investors granted entry for a couple of years to see whether they can make their businesses worth more than $1 million, which would enable them to apply for permanent residency. Others are international students.

They face stiff competition for a limited pool of "green cards" -- the document that ensures permanent U.S. residency and places immigrants on a citizenship track.

And some of them resent what's happening in Congress, where much of the focus and debate regarding immigration reform centers on the estimated 12 million people who live and work in the United States illegally.

Patel and others who are in the country legally are asking, simply: What about us?

Patel, for example, has injected nearly half a million dollars into businesses here since she arrived from London in 2002. But that has not been enough to meet the investment threshold. If her children turn 21 before they get green cards, they will have to leave.

"All we would ask is: You have a huge illegal immigration here, but don't forget the legal immigrants," Patel said. "Don't give me citizenship. But give me the right to permanent residency and the chance to work hard to earn my citizenship."

The proposal currently being hashed out in the Senate -- a result of bipartisan compromise -- largely addresses illegal immigration.

It increases border security through electronic surveillance. It establishes a merit-point system to admit future immigrants. And it creates a legalization path for illegal immigrants who pay fines and taxes, learn English and clear security checks.

That leaves folks such as Patel, who follows immigration's complicated legal channels, feeling left out.

Sen. Mel Martinez, an Orlando Republican and one of the chief architects of the Senate bill, said through a spokesman that the compromise proposal accounts for the concerns of temporary-visa holders. "Legal non-immigrants would have the advantage that they could apply for a green card now," the spokesman, Ken Lundberg, said in a written statement. "Illegal immigrants will not be able to jump the line in front of legal non-immigrants."
LOL, just more proof most Senators and Congressman live in an alternate reality. Immigration processes petitions on a first come, first save basis. I been there, done that for three family members, most notably my Philippine born wif There is also the present backlog of immigration cases, some of which go back to 2004. It won't get better but worse under any immigration reform package.

Note- It would be nice if once the MSM would report on how a US citizen often gets caught up in the Immigration mess. Like US servicemen who marry while stationed abroad(Japan, South Korea, Germany). Their foreign born spouses and children often have to stay behind when the serviceman PCSs to their next duty assignment. This puts a strain on these families, both emotional and financial. Yes my wife and I were through this ourselves in late 1999 after our marriage.

My foreign born relatives also resent people who want to jump the line. Nanay is petitioning for two of her sons to immigrate to this country. This process takes years for adult children, and it won't get beter just as it won't for Ms. Patel.

The Immigration situation in this country without a doubt, is one big mess. Far too often legal immigrants get screwed by the system.

Linked to- Bright & Early, Third World County, The World According to Carl,


From the Silly News Desk

Some news from Missouri. Please pass the Maple Syrup.

Linked to- Jo, Pirate's Cove, Samantha Burns,

SCOTT CITY, Missouri - Police said inmates used pancake batter and toothpaste to cover a hole they made to allow a female inmate to slide into the next cell and join a male inmate. Now steel plates are being added to the Missouri jail's interior walls.

The hole at the Scott City Jail was discovered this weekend, said police Chief Don Cobb. He said inmates removed a block from the wall, after making a digging tool with a nail, a wire from a light fixture and a toothbrush.

The mixture of pancake batter and toothpaste looked like mortar, he said.

Prisoners will stay in a county jail until a security check is completed at the city building.

The city jail's exterior walls already are reinforced with steel to prevent inmates from escaping, Cobb said.

"Unless they can smuggle in an arc welder, they aren't getting through that," he said.


Herbs and Spices

From AP-

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Marijuana possession should remain a crime in Indonesia, but chefs who use the herb as a traditional way to season curries should not be arrested, the country's vice president told local reporters.

Cooks in parts of Indonesia — a nation that executes drug traffickers — say they use tiny amounts of crushed marijuana leaves or seeds as a spice in certain dishes.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Vice President Yusuf Kalla said there was "no way" Indonesia would legalize or decriminalize marijuana as some countries in western Europe have done.

"It is all right to use it as a food seasoning, but it should not be fully legalized," Kalla was quoted as saying by The Jakarta Post.

Kalla did not address the problems such a stance might pose to police tasked with arresting marijuana users. Officers have never previously cracked down on the use of marijuana in the kitchen or said the practice was a particular problem.

I believe some loosening in current drug laws is long overdue. AP is correct in noting how difficult it would be to differentiate between marijuana use for food and for personal use. It leaves the question of whether one is breaking the law in the hands of police and prosecutors and therefore can either lead to honest mistakes by law enforcement at best and abuses by the same in worst case scenarios. With the draconian drug laws currently in effect in Indonesia, I wouldn't want to be risking my life over something I'm either eating or serving to others.

Linked to- Amboy Times, Outside the Beltway, Pursuing Holiness, Webloggin,

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Goodbye Tony

From AP-

LONDON - An emotional Tony Blair resigned as prime minister Wednesday after a decade in power, clearing the way for Treasury chief Gordon Brown to take command of the government.

Blair submitted his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II during a 25-minute closed-door meeting at Buckingham Palace. With his wife, Cherie, he waved to reporters and then traveled to his constituency in northern England, where he is expected to quit as a lawmaker to take up his post with the Quartet of Mideast peace mediators.

Brown, a 56-year-old Scot known for his often stern demeanor, beamed as he was applauded by Treasury staff before heading with his wife, Sarah, to the palace to be confirmed as prime minister.

Blair received a warm sendoff in the House of Commons, from his opponents as well as members of his own Labour party, after one final appearance at the weekly question time session.

"I wish everyone — friend or foe — well. And that is that. The end," he said.

Legislators rose to their feet and applauded as he left for his meeting with the queen. Some, including Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, wiped away tears.

Blair also used the session to say he was sorry for the perils faced by British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he gave no apology for his decisions to back the United States in taking military action.

Blair expressed condolences to the families of the fallen, this week including two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

"I am truly sorry about the dangers that they face today in Iraq and Afghanistan," Blair said.

"I know some may think that they face these dangers in vain; I don't and I never will. I believe they are fighting for the security of this country and the wider world against people who would destroy our way of life," he said.

"Whatever view people take of my decisions, I think there is only way view to take of them: they are the bravest and the best," Blair added.

David Cameron, leader of the opposition Conservative Party, saluted Blair's achievements and wished him well.

"He has considerable achievements to his credit, whether it is peace in Northern Ireland, whether it is work in the developing world, which I know will endure," Cameron said.

"I'm sure that life in the public eye has sometimes been tough on this family. So can I say on behalf of my party that we wish him and his family well, and we wish him every success in whatever he does in the future."


President Bush paid a final tribute to his ally and will later call Blair's successor with congratulations.

"Tony's had a great run and history will judge him kindly," Bush told Britain's The Sun tabloid in remarks published Wednesday. "I've heard he's been called Bush's poodle. He's bigger than that."

Bush is thought to have been instrumental in winning Blair his new role as envoy to the Quartet of Mideast peace mediators.
I wish Blair well in post-political life. However I think being a Middle East Peace envoy is a thankless job. Unless there is a radical change in the thinking t hat takes place in that part of the world, and there is no present signs of there being so, peace negotiations can be compared to being on a treadmill. They won't get anywhere. I guess someone has to try, otherwise the region if not the rest of the world have to pay for the turmoil that never seems to cease.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Cao, Morewhat,

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Sally Quinn. She gets the award for the following.

The big question right now among Republicans is how to remove Vice President Cheney from office. Even before this week's blockbuster series in The Post, discontent in Republican ranks was rising.

As the reputed architect of the war in Iraq, Cheney is viewed as toxic, and as the administration's leading proponent of an attack on Iran, he is seen as dangerous. As long as he remains vice president, according to this thinking, he has the potential to drag down every member of the party -- including the presidential nominee -- in next year's elections.

Removing a sitting vice president is not easy, but this may be the moment. I remember Barry Goldwater sitting in my parents' living room in 1973, in the last days of Watergate, debating whether to lead a group of senior Republicans to the White House to tell President Nixon he had to go. His hesitation was that he felt loyalty to the president and the party. But in the end he felt a greater loyalty to his country, and he went to the White House.

Today, another group of party elders, led by Sen. John Warner of Virginia, could well do the same. They could act out of concern for our country's plummeting reputation throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East.

For such a plan to work, however, they would need a ready replacement. Until recently, there hasn't been an acceptable alternative to Cheney -- nor has there been a persuasive argument to convince President Bush to make a change. Now there is.
Here we go with the almost predictable Dick Cheney is leaving specualation. Sometimes its about who will replace Cheney and sometimes why he will be replaced. Ms. Quinn's column falls into the former. For she throws another name into the ring, one we've never heard before in previous speculation.

That leaves Fred Thompson. Everybody loves Fred. He has the healing qualities of Gerald Ford and the movie-star appeal of Ronald Reagan. He is relatively moderate on social issues. He has a reputation as a peacemaker and a compromiser. And he has a good sense of humor.

He could be just the partner to bring out Bush's better nature -- or at least be a sensible voice of reason. I could easily imagine him telling the president, "For God's sake, do not push that button!" -- a command I have a hard time hearing Cheney give.

Not only that, Thompson would give the Republicans a platform for running for the presidency -- and the president a way out of Iraq without looking like he's backing down. Bush would lega be left in better shape on the war and be able to concentrate on AIDS and the environment in hopes of salvaging hiscy.
Yep and Bush will withdraw all troops from Iraq, Kiss Usama Bin Laden on the White House Lawn, find a cure for cancer and do other wonderful deeds. NOT! My favorite blogger James Joyner at OTB sums up Ms. Quinn's column very well-

This has to be the dumbest thing I’ve seen from a major journalist in quite some time.
If you excuse that he doesn't read the Palm Beach Post on a regular basis, James is correct in his statement. The stupidity of the author ranks with the Karl Rove will be indicted scenario story of last year or AP's reporting on the contents of Rove's garage back in 2005. Don't forget Dana Milbank counting how many times President Bush blinked either. For reporting her personal fantasies, Sally Quinn is today's Knucklehead of the Day.

Also blogging on Sally Quinn's column- Dr. Taylor at Poliblog
Linked to- Amboy Times, Big Dog, Bright & Early, Cao, Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Maggie, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Planck's Constant, Pursuing Holiness, Right Wing Nation, Samantha Burns, Third World County, Webloggin, The World According to Carl, Yankee Sailor,

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More trouble for Florida A&M

From the Tampa Tribune-

TALLAHASSEE - The interim head of Florida A&M University told hundreds of faculty and staff Monday that he was stunned to learn in a telephone call last week that the school was being put on probation, largely for chronic financial mismanagement.

'My first response was shock,' said Larry Robinson, the university's chief executive officer, who is running the school's day-to-day operations until James Ammons becomes president Monday.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools gave FAMU six months to clean up its troubled financial situation. The probationary period could last two years, and the university is at risk of losing its SACS membership and thereby accreditation.

Robinson told faculty and staff jammed into the auditorium of the university's college of pharmacology that they must work together to help the school resolve issues that threaten its accreditation.

'I've never seen this many of us in one place,' Robinson said. 'It tells me you know how serious this matter is and you're ready to work. This is the time FAMUans, the Rattlers, have to come together.'

Chuck Hobbs, a local lawyer who earned a master's degree at FAMU, conceded that problems have escalated in recent years, but he predicted Ammons would work 'indefatigably' to get things back on track.

'The wheels have fallen off, and it's going to take Dr. Ammons and a commitment … from everybody involved to make sure we pitch in together rather than falling apart,' Hobbs said. 'You can tell everybody's concerned about the next step.'

Robinson also said the university has yet to receive formal notification from SACS, which was created in 1895 and accredits about 800 colleges and universities in 11 Southern states and some in Latin America.

'We're waiting on the specific language,' he said.
I'd also be interested in the specific language also. Financial mismanagement would appear to be sufficient to remove a school's accreditation, it would have to be more complicated. Florida A&M has other problems besides the payroll mess. Its long past time for this university to be run by professionals rather than Knuckleheads.

Linked to- Right Wing Nation, The World According to Carl,

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Not just a bad headache

From the Palm Beach Post-

Deputies are investigating how a man who awoke at 4:30 a.m. with a headache suffered what doctors told him was a gunshot to the head, the sheriff said.

Michael Eugene Moylan, 45, thought he might have suffered an aneurysm and asked his wife whether she had elbowed him in his sleep, St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said.

His wife noticed blood on the pillow and drove him to Port St. Lucie Medical Center, Mascara said.


As doctors tended to Moylan, his wife left to drive home from the hospital, Mascara said.

At the home at 7219 Mystic Way in Port St. Lucie's gated, upscale PGA Village, deputies intercepted his wife, who told them she returned to see whether a bullet had come through the walls from outside the house and struck her husband, Mascara said.

Deputies' cursory look through the house turned up nothing out of the ordinary, the sheriff said.

At about 2:15 p.m., deputies served a search warrant on the home, said Mascara, who said he is awaiting the results.

Doctors ordered Moylan transferred to the trauma facility at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, where doctors are "attempting to stabilize some clotting," said Mascara. "They did not perform any surgery."

Moylan told a police officer that he and his wife were convicted felons and that there were no guns in the house, said Mascara, who said there were not yet any official suspects.
The wife is the obvious suspect, but there are stray bullet stories in South Florida all the time. You don't want to jump to conclusion.

Linked to- Jo, Maggie, Third World County,

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Florida the rules are different here Chapter CXXV

A Florida Chiropractor gets scammed by a man and woman, one of whom passed themselves off as a Major League Baseball Player. The imagination Florida con artists have. Isn't this a great state or what?

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, The World According to Carl,

ST. PETERSBURG -- (AP) -- A chiropractor who thought she was being courted by New York Mets pitcher Pedro Martinez was actually the victim of con artists who took her for hundreds of thousands of dollars, authorities said.

Rhonda Schroeder, 32, told prosecutors that she befriended a patient, Shirley Gordon, who introduced her to a man posing as the Mets' ace.

Schroeder said the impostor continued their romance through phone calls and text messages. He urged Schroeder to spend money on Gordon, including a $450,000 house, more than $150,000 in furniture, and lawyers to defend her against a previous fraud charge, The St. Petersburg Times reported Sunday. He always promised to pay back the money.

The fake Martinez always had an excuse for why he couldn't visit Schroeder, but he sent gifts and flowers. In daily phone calls, he played the doting boyfriend. Schroeder said she would do anything to keep him happy, including helping his ''sister'' financially.

When Schroeder realized she was being scammed, she went to prosecutors and sued Gordon and a male accomplice, accusing them of racketeering and seeking restitution. The case, filed in May 2006, is pending.

Gordon, 56, who has dozens of felony convictions, is serving an 18-month prison term for violating federal probation.

After that, she will begin serving a 30-year state prison sentence for using another person's identity to buy a luxury car in 2004.

Prosecutor Beverly Andringa said she can't charge anyone with defrauding Schroeder because the chiropractor damaged her credibility by testifying on Gordon's behalf at her fraud trial.

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Back to Pyongyang

From AP-

BEIJING - A woman who fled North Korea after living there for 43 years returned to the communist country Tuesday following nearly four years in Japan, saying she missed her children and found Japanese society unwelcoming.

To Chu Ji arrived in Pyongyang and was greeted by her family, who brought her a bouquet of flowers and embraced her, weeping.

Before leaving, To spoke at a rare news conference at the North Korean Embassy in Beijing, saying she had been cheated by "bad people" into leaving North Korea in 2003.

She gave few details during the 20-minute session in which she kept her eyes on her hands. Reporters were not allowed to ask questions.

The motives behind the news conference were not clear, although it comes amid a dispute over North Korea's alleged abduction of 13 Japanese citizens in the 1970s and '80s that has blocked talks between Tokyo and Pyongyang on normalizing relations.

Thousands of North Koreans are also believed to have fled hunger and repression in the highly secretive, hard-line communist state, some taking refuge in foreign diplomatic missions in China. North Korea has at times accused South Korea and others of kidnapping such refugees. Beijing, North Korea's leading ally and economic lifeline, frequently returns North Koreans captured in China.


To said she was born in Japan in 1949 and given a Korean name for her father and a Japanese name for her mother. The family moved to North Korea in 1960, she said.

To said she had five children in North Korea but left them to cross the Tumen River into China, where a waiting Jeep brought her to the Japanese consulate in the northeastern city of Shenyang.

Two weeks later, she was living in the Japanese town of Matsudo, where she said she led an isolated life. Telephone and letter exchanges with her children always ended in tears, she said, adding that she should go home to them instead of having them come to Japan.

"I became almost crazy with longing for my children," said To, a bespectacled, soft-spoken woman dressed in a dark pantsuit. "I made my pillow wet with tears."


To said at the Beijing news conference that Japan of today was different from the country of her childhood.

"The Japanese, even if they live on the same floor of the same apartment, they don't care about each other and don't communicate with each other. ... It's like they live alone," she said. "At present, I feel that Japan is in general, cool, almost like ice."

She also mentioned several high-profile murders that have rattled Japan in recent months.

"There was news that parents killed children and children killed parents," To said. "After seeing this, I was afraid I would die without seeing my children again."

To said she left Tokyo on June 21. She sang a song about missing one's home and family before being escorted from the room by embassy officials.
A couple of observations.

1- I can believe Ms. To missing her children. That is just a natural reaction from any mother when separated from her offspring.

2- North Korea's possible. motives behind trumpeting To's return? One comes to mind i mmediately. To provide propaganda against the tales of Japanese being abducted by North Korean.

3- How will To be treated now that she is back in North Korea? Based on Pyongyang's past history, she'll be placed in a camp for political prisoners. To's re-union with her children was most likely a short one.

Linked to- Amboy Times, Pirate's Cove, Right Wing Nation,

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Totally blind

Randy Schultz and company at the Palm Beach Post again show how little they know about matters outside of Palm Beach County.

According to Broadcasting & Cable magazine, the ex-Broward County judge who cried when ruling on who would take possession of Anna Nicole Smith's remains, will shoot a pilot show for CBS Television Distribution. As was rumored in February, when Larry Seidlin was embarrassing himself, the state and his profession, Mr. Seidlin hopes to play a judge on TV. That figures. He was playing at being a judge when he was on the bench.

America needs another "judge" show as much as America needs a Paris Hilton update. There's Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown and Judge Hatchett, just to name three opportunities for average citizens and washed-up reality-show "stars" to humiliate themselves before the camera. Think of the shows as the "classier" Jerry Springer or Maury Povich. Here's part of the story line for the July 5 Judge Hatchett: "The plaintiff states that when she rented a room in the defendant's home, she was up-front about being a stripper ... The defendant says the plaintiff is a drug-addled prostitute."

Broward and the state gain by shedding a lousy jurist.
Was Seidlin a lousy jurist or just a theatrical one? Has the Post or the Broward County paper Sun-Sentinel reported on other legal matters concerning this judge? Not that I know of.

On the other hand, lets look at some other Broward County Judges-

Former Chief Judge Dale Ross- Helps to seal Court Records for colleagues and influential people in the County. Randy and the Post editorial board can't plead ignorance on this story, for it was reported in the Palm Beach Post also. Then Maybe Randy and Company don't read the Post. LOL.
Chery O'Connor- Had a prospective juror candidate arrested
Former Judge Lawrence Korda- Arrested for smoking marijuana.
Cheryl Aleman- Had lawyer arrested and been charged with violating several canons or rules while on the bench
Larry Moe- Orders attorney's fees paid at the rate of $1050 an hour.
Leonard Feiner- Insults and makes disparaging comments towards courthouse employees
Charles Greene- Had a court stenographer jailed.

What is Seidlin compared to all the above Broward County judges? A nuisance, a goofball, but not really embarassing when you look at the bigger picture of what's going on in the county south of here. The Palm Beach Post Editorial Board once again has shown their ignorance about happenings in another part of Florida. Last November, the Post editorialized about the November elections, totally oblivious of what was going on in the Florida 13th Congressional race. If the paper is so ignorant about the goings on in Broward thirty miles away from the Post's home office, and less than ten from Randy Schultz's South County home(I believe he lives in Boca Raton), how well informed are they about National matters? You have to wonder.

Linked to- Big Dog, Right Wing Nation, The World According to Carl,

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The Knucklehead of the Day award

Today's winner is Congressman Kendrick Meek. He gets the award for the following.

(AP) MIAMI A South Florida congressman's mother was among the consultants and lobbyists a Boston developer paid to support a biotech project that has so far only cleared a lot in an impoverished neighborhood.

As part of their ongoing series of investigative reports, our news partners at the Miami Herald report four years ago, Dennis Stackhouse proposed building a $250 million biopharmaceutical park in Miami's Liberty City neighborhood.

As the project stalled, Stackhouse diverted more than half a million dollars from a Miami-Dade County poverty agency through double billing and dubious expenses. The Miami Herald also reports Stackhouse spent hundreds of thousands more on political insiders. Among them was former U.S. Representative Carrie Meek, who received at least $40,000, a leased luxury sport utility vehicle and a 2,600-square-foot rent-free office for her foundation.

Congressional records show that she was paid while her son, who now holds her seat in Congress, sought millions of federal dollars for the project.

U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek has said there was no connection between his efforts to fund the project and his mother's involvement with Stackhouse.

Carrie Meek said she was paid as a consultant for the project, and that she never lobbied her son on Stackhouse's behalf. Stackhouse also said Meek was not involved in her son's federal funding requests.

"I briefly served as a paid consultant for Dennis Stackhouse, advising him on community needs and issues, community-based groups and problems," Meek said.

The SUV was part of an "in-kind contribution" to her Carrie Meek Foundation, she said. Records obtained by the newspaper show Stackhouse made some of the vehicle payments with money from a $3 million interest-free county loan for the biotech park.
Taxpayer money being used to help the mother of a politician. Even if you believe the Congressman's denials, Meek has a conflict of interests. My own view- Just another shady Florida politician, helping himself and his family members. Either way it is good enough to make Congressman Kendrick Meek today's Knucklehead of the Day.

BTW- The Congressman is playing another tune. According to today's Miami Herald, Meek is urging an end to funding the troubled biotech park. Too little too late.

Linked to- Amboy Times, Blue Star, Big Dog, DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Jo, Mad Pigeon, Maggie, Morewhat, Outside the Beltway, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Pursuing Holiness, Third World County, Webloggin, The World According to Carl,

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Out of the closet Japan style

Kanako Otsuji is Japan's first openly Lesbian politician. She is running for a seat in Japan's upper house parliamentary elections.

TFM votes based on whether I agree or disagree with someone's politics. A person's marital status, gender or sexual orientation matter little to me. I knew of the rumors about former Congressman Mark Foley being gay, but would have supported him for office before last year's scandal broke. While I consider myself conservative on most subjects, my views on GLBT issues are pretty open minded. Asian society is not gay friendly, and I'm sure Ms. Otsuji has had her share of obstacles. I myself will leave the judging to God. Or the determination of Otsuji's ability to govern, up to Japanese voters. Hopefully her sexual orientation won't be the deciding factor, one way or the other.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Outside the Beltway,

Kanako Otsuji wants to open the closet for Japan's gay and lesbian community in order to increase their visibility and help them gain their basic rights as citizens.

The nation's first openly lesbian politician is running for a seat in upper house parliamentary elections in July under the banner of the major opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ).

"I wanted to change Japan through politics, and to do that we (homosexuals) have to become visible," Otsuji told DPA at her campaign office in Tokyo's Shinjuku Nichome district, known as a hub of the homosexual community.

Otsuji, then a member of the prefectural assembly in the western Japanese province of Osaka, officially announced her sexual orientation at a Tokyo gay pride parade in August 2005 and in a book published on the same day.

Since Japan has no law banning discrimination against homosexuals, many of them fear a backlash and do their best to hide under the blanket of pseudonyms or anonymity.

Many Japanese homosexuals feel more comfortable coming out of the closet with their close friends but resist revealing their sexual orientation to their immediate families or to their professional colleagues, Otsuji said.

After the 32-year-old politician announced her sexual orientation in 2005, her colleagues at the Osaka prefectural assembly began avoiding her.

"They just didn't know how to react and they ignored me," Otsuji said. "I have met many Japanese people who just regarded us as 'weirdos'."

In Japan, violent hate crimes mostly target gay men, Otsuji said, as seen in a murder case about 10 years ago, when a Japanese gay man was robbed and killed.

But lesbians, who tend to be more invisible in society, may just be ignored or, at worst, receive prank calls.

Although Otsuji, a Taekwondo master, has not experienced any violent harassment since she announced her candidacy, her campaign office has dealt with protest calls from voters.

Otsuji thinks the prejudice against gays and lesbians in Japan lies in how people perceive homosexuality only as "something to do with what happens in bed," and not a lifestyle variation.

That generates the feeling of shame. When people criticize, they express sympathy for the parents of homosexuals, who they think must feel ashamed of their offspring.

Otsuji's mother received bouquets of flowers when her daughter won a seat in the assembly, but no congratulatory messages reached her when Otsuji married her partner.

Both women wore white wedding dresses and veils for the wedding earlier this month. The couple received a telegram from DPJ leader Ichiro Ozawa and blessings from their families and friends after they exchanged vows and rings at the ceremony held at the Nagoya Lesbian & Gay Revolution 2007 event in the central Japanese city of Nagoya.

"Japan's discrimination against homosexuals is not based on religion but morality," Otsuji said in an interview. "That's why I think the nation can turn 180 degrees as soon as it learns to accept the concept."

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Bring it on

From the Sun-Sentinel-

South Florida is in for some tropical weather.

A tropical wave was expected to bring stormy weather to the region beginning Tuesday evening and likely lasting through the day on Wednesday. It also was to generate winds up to 20 mph along the coast, the National Weather Service in Miami said.

"It may increase the risk of rip currents, too," said meteorologist Andrew Tingler.

As of 3:30 p.m. Monday, the north end of that wave was right over Hispaniola, the island that shares the nations of Haiti and Dominican Republic, and was approaching South Florida from the southeast.

Though sun could peak out on Wednesday morning, more than an inch of rain should fall in some areas by the afternoon. Most areas should see about a half an inch of rain, Tingler said.

"It's probably going to be wet day," he said. "It just depends if you get stuck under a vigorous thunderstorm."

The forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of rain on Tuesday night, increasing to 60 percent on Wednesday. It also calls for high temperatures in the mid 80s and lows in the mid 70s.
South Florida is still in the midst of a drought. This storm should bring some welcome relief.

Linked to- The World According to Carl,

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Too many distractions

Some news from Manila-

MANILA (Reuters) - The Catholic Church has issued guidelines on what Filipinos should wear to mass in Manila after some parishioners complained about distracting skimpy attire.

"This is to remind people that it would be good to come in appropriate clothing because other people are scandalised," said Peachy Yamsuan of the archdiocese of Manila on Monday.

"It is for the other worshippers who are distracted. You come to the church to pray and if your eyes wander and you see inappropriate clothes, well, it does not add to your spiritual goals."

The majority of the Philippines' 87 million people are Catholic and worshippers throng sweltering churches each Sunday, although some devotees attend religious services in air-conditioned malls, giving the ceremony an informal air.

But Manila's archdiocese has issued posters advising women not to wear short skirts, revealing necklines and spaghetti-strap tops to mass, while men are warned against shorts, caps and basketball jerseys.
The Philippines is rather conservative as to its practice of Roman Catholicism, so this edict isn't terribly surprising.

Other distractions at mass can include blue eyed foreigners. I remember the first time I attended church in my wife's home town.(Tacloban) There was this very cute girl age 18 months to two years in the row in front of us. She couldn't stop staring at me. My blue eyes have the same effect on most Philippine females 30 and under in Tacloban. Blue eyed foreigners seldom travel to the islands of Leyte and Samar. Do I risk excommunication if I go to mass at Sto Nino or Redemptorist Catholic Church(Where my church wedding took place) in the future? Cue the sarcastic laughter.

BTW the only air conditioned churches I been to in that country were at US military installations. Churches in malls are probably only found in Manila, not in the boondock regions of the Philippines.

Linked to- Big Dog, Bullwinkle, Right Wing Nation, Third World County,

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Melinda/Trenton Duckett News

From the Orlando Sentinel-

OCALA - A federal magistrate has recommended that the father of Trenton Duckett be dropped from a wrongful-death lawsuit accusing TV talk-show host Nancy Grace of pushing the missing boy's mother to suicide.

Magistrate Gary R. Jones concluded "there is no possibility" that Melinda Duckett's family can establish a claim in federal court against her estranged husband, Joshua Duckett. The family had sought a court-ordered accounting of the Trenton Duckett Family Charitable Trust, alleging Joshua had improperly used donations for personal use.

Jones also recommended that the lawsuit against Grace remain in federal court, siding with lawyers for Grace and the Atlanta-based Cable News Network, which airs the former prosecutor's crime program. Melinda Duckett's family had wanted the case to be heard in Circuit Court in Lake County.

The magistrate's recommendations will be submitted to U.S. District Judge William Terrell Hodges, who has final say.

Melinda Duckett, 21, considered the prime suspect in her son's disappearance, shot and killed herself at her grandparents' home in The Villages on Sept. 8, shortly before the taped interview aired. Grace's grilling of Duckett took place a day earlier.

Trenton, 2, was reported missing Aug. 27 from his bed in his mother's apartment in Leesburg.

Lawyers for Melinda Duckett's family said the magistrate's opinion will not hurt their chances to collect damages from Grace and the network for inflicting emotional distress and misappropriating the young mother's image.
Regardless of what you think about the lawsuit overall, Joshua Duckett shouldn't be involved in any wrongful death claims. Sadly I feel Melinda Duckett is responsible for both her own death, and probably that of Trenton also. I doubt the boy is alive.

Linked to- DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Jo, Pursuing Holiness, The World According to Carl,

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A Jewish museum in Poland

From AP-

WARSAW -- An empty lawn in the heart of what was once the Warsaw Ghetto will soon become a place not only of mourning, but of celebrating the Jewish life that flourished in Poland before it was destroyed in the Holocaust.

President Lech Kaczynski will break ground tomorrow for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. It sits on a highly charged site -- next to the city's monument to the Jews who resisted the Nazis during the 1943 ghetto uprising, and just down the street from the rail siding where many were deported to their deaths.

The multimedia museum will have exhibits on the Holocaust, but organizers say its primary purpose is to remember the vibrant Jewish community that flourished in Poland for a thousand years despite varying degrees of anti-Semitism and discrimination.


The building, an austere glass and limestone structure designed by Finnish architects Rainer Mahlamaki and Ilmari Lahdelma, will feature a jagged chasm that cuts through the entire museum, and an interior of undulating forms that alludes to Moses's parting of the Red Sea while fleeing slavery in Egypt -- symbolic of Jewish survival in the face of catastrophe.

When it opens in two years, Polish and Jewish leaders hope it will become a cultural landmark in a league with Jerusalem's Yad Vashem, the United States' Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and Berlin's Jewish Museum and Holocaust Memorial.

To many, such a center is long overdue in a country that had Europe's largest Jewish community until World War II, numbering about 3.3 million, or 10 percent of the total population. The society produced a vibrant Yiddish-speaking culture and a string of great scientists, writers, and thinkers.

Poland is also where Nazi Germany built Auschwitz, Treblinka, and the other extermination camps where 6 million Jews -- half of them Polish -- were killed.

Yet Jewish history and suffering were taboo themes for decades under communist rule, which collapsed in 1989. Only about 30,000 Jews live in Poland today.
Dear Wife and I have a number of Polish born friends. All of whom are Catholic, like most people from Poland. These friends while horrified by what was done by the Nazis, at the same time don't miss the Jews that lived in their country. I don't know if that's a widespread feeling or not.

Dear wife and I visited Poland in 2000. While there we saw Auschwitz, the gloomiest place I ever been to in my life. While in Krakow, we also briefly entered a Jewish synagogue. There aren't many left in that city, and a rabbi shooed out of the place of worship after only a few moments there. Frankly, neither I or the Polish priest accompanying the wife and I, were wearing a yarmulke. Which all males are supposed to wear in a synagogue. My BIL Marty is Jewish, and I wore a yarmulke at my sister's wedding in 1983. When in Rome or a synagogue.....

Also note, Warsaw was flattened by the Nazis during WWII. Very little is left of the city prior to 1939. Krakow on the other hand suffered suffered much less damage from the war. Like St. Mary's Square pictured here.

Linked to- Maggie, Right Voices, Yankee Sailor,

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Florida the rules are different here Chapter CXXIV

A game of Yahtzee turns fatal. I always thought high stakes Poker was dangerous to play. Don't you just love Florida?

Linked to- Amboy Times, Bullwinkle, Perri Nelson,

YBOR CITY - A night of Yahtzee ended with a fatal stabbing Saturday.

Mark Kelvin Allen, 49, was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder Saturday night.

According to Tampa police, Allen got into an argument with Reuben Barnett and stabbed him twice in the abdomen. Barnett, 49, died at Tampa General Hospital.

The fight broke out about 7:30 p.m. at an east Tampa residence at 3607 Avenida Republica de Cuba. Police said Allen had been playing Yahtzee with Barnett’s girlfriend when an argument started. The woman went into a bedroom where her boyfriend was and closed the door. Allen kicked the door off its hinges, and the men fought, according to a police report.

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Missing his Pants and Brains and now his Money

A DC Judge ruled on Roy L. Pearson, Jr's lawsuit against a dry cleaner.

WASHINGTON - A judge on Monday ruled in favor of a dry cleaner that was sued for $54 million over a missing pair of pants in a case that garnered international attention and renewed calls for litigation reform.

District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff ruled that the Korean immigrant owners of Custom Cleaners did not violate the city's Consumer Protection Act by failing to live up to Roy L. Pearson's expectations of the "Satisfaction Guaranteed" sign that was once placed in the store window.

"Plaintiff Roy L. Pearson, Jr. takes nothing from the defendants, and defendants Soo Chung, Jin Nam Chung and Ki Y. Chung are awarded the costs of this action against the plaintiff Roy L. Pearson, Jr.," the ruling read.

Pearson, an administrative law judge, originally sought $67 million from the Chungs after he claimed they lost a pair of suit trousers and later tried to return a pair that he said was not his. He arrived at the figure by adding up years of law violations and almost $2 million in common law claims. Pearson later dropped demands for damages related to the pants and focused his claims on signs in the shop, which have since been removed.
Hooray for the Chungs. Pearson, a former Knucklehead winner, has now been labeled nationwide the idiot he truly is. In addition to losing his suit, Roy L Pearson Jr. will have to pay the Chung's legal fees now. Make a bet Judge Bartnoff's ruling makes this imbecile cry once again over his pants.

Others blogging on this news- Below the Beltway,
Linked to- Amboy Times, Big Dog, Pirate's Cove, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation,


Citizenship news

Definitive proof ICE and CIS are Mickey Mouse agencies.

The Magic Kingdom will serve as backdrop when more than 1,000 immigrants swear allegiance to the United States as new citizens during a special Fourth of July naturalization ceremony at Disney World in Orlando.

It'll be the theme park's first mass naturalization ceremony, to be held on the forecourt of Cinderella Castle, according to a Walt Disney World media statement issued last week.

The ceremony will be the latest of several recent mass naturalizations, a reflection of the soaring number of citizenship applications being filed in advance of higher immigration service fees taking effect July 30.

Two weeks ago, more than 6,000 immigrants became U.S. citizens at two mass ceremonies at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Federal officials say citizenship applications are skyrocketing in Florida and across the nation, partly as a result of the coming sharp fee increase in which naturalization will cost $595 instead of the current $330.

Emilio González, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, will swear in the 1,000 new citizens at Disney World, according to the Disney statement.

Sen. Mel Martínez, R-Fla., one of the champions of immigration reform in the Senate, is scheduled to deliver the keynote speech.

Meanwhile, Cuban-American singer Gloria Estefan will sing the national anthem and country western singer Lee Greenwood will sing God Bless America.

A squadron of U.S. Air Force F15s flying overhead will close the event.
How much did it cost to hire Estefan to sing the anthem and for Greenwood to be there? Is CIS paying for this or Disney?

Of course US taxpayers are paying for the F15s. See how well that immigration fee increase is being spent. BTW there were no singers or jets when my wife was naturalized in 1994. (No I'm not complaining about the lack of pomp) Congratulations to the newest US citizens.

Linked to- Bullwinkle, Third World County, Yankee Sailor,

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The Knuckleheads of the Day award

Today's winner is Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed and the Carlisle Pennsylvania Police Department. They get the award for the following.

Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed this morning withdrew a felony wiretapping charge against an 18-year-old Carlisle man who videotaped a police officer during a traffic stop.

Freed's announcement came a week after a story in The Patriot-News caused a storm of protest over the arrest of 18-year-old Brian Kelly.

Freed said his decision won't only affect Kelly, who could have faced a prison term if convicted. It also will serve as a policy for all police departments in the county, he said.

"When police are audio- and video-recording traffic stops with notice to the subjects, similar actions by citizens, even if done in secret, will not result in criminal charges," Freed said. "I intend to communicate this decision to all police agencies within the county so that officers on the street are better prepared to handle a similar situation should it arise again."

Kelly was charged under a Pennsylvania law that bars the audio recording of anyone's conversation without consent. Taking pictures or filming without sound in public settings is not illegal.

Kelly's father, Chris, called the withdrawal of the wiretap charge "fantastic

"That's what should have happened to begin with," he said.

Kelly said he spent 26 hours in prison after his May 24 arrest by a Carlisle officer. He was released when his mother posted her house as security for his $2,500 bail.


Similarly, Freed said there was no valid privacy expectation on the part of the Carlisle police officer in the Kelly case because that officer also was audio- and videotaping the traffic stop.

According to the police and Kelly, a pickup truck in which Kelly was riding was pulled over on West High Street for alleged traffic and equipment violations

Kelly filmed the proceedings, but was arrested after obeying the officer's order to turn off and surrendered his camera. The wiretap charge was filed after the officer consulted a deputy district attorney.

Kelly denied a claim by police that he was trying to hide the camera by cupping it in his hands.

Even in voiding the charge, Freed praised Carlisle police for their "hard work and cooperation" in the investigation of the Kelly case. He said the officer who charged Kelly acted in a "professional manner."

The police who routinely videotape people from speeders to major criminals, throw a tizzy when they themselves are recorded. Throwing in jail, and that's a professional manner according to the District Attorney. No its a sickness seen far too often by both our police and justice system.

Radley Balko writes-

As noted, police are public servants, paid with taxpayer dollars. Not only that, but they’re given extraordinary power and authority we don’t give to other public servants: They’re armed; they can make arrests; they’re allowed to break the very laws they’re paid to enforce; they can use lethal force for reasons other than self-defense; and, of course, the police are permitted to videotape us without our consent.

It’s critical that we retain the right to record, videotape or photograph the police while they’re on duty. Not only for symbolic reasons (when agents of the state can confiscate evidence of their own wrongdoing, you’re treading on seriously perilous ground), but as an important check on police excesses. In the age of YouTube, video of police misconduct captured by private citizens can have an enormous impact.
Videotaping the police is a way of protecting our freedom from those who will abuse their authority. Authority that can take away both a person's liberty and in some cases a person's life.

Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed and the Carlisle Pennsylvania Police Department are today's Knuckleheads of the Day.

Hat tip- PA Pundits. Steve Verdon at OTB also comments on the taping of police.
Linked to- Big Dog, Cao, DragonLady, High Desert Wanderer, Jo, Mad Pigeon, Morewhat, Perri Nelson, Pirate's Cove, Right Voices, Right Wing Nation, Third World County, Webloggin,

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